Saturday, August 9, 2008

My dream for all adoptees

I am one of the more fortunate adoptees to have completed my search 11 1/2 years ago. I will always be greatful to my dear friend Anita Field who was invaluable help to me during the final days of my search.

My search took over 20 years and during that time my birth parents passed away. But I've been reunited with siblings and other relatives. Recently some of us got together. There were special moments to share and reminders of how much I am like some of my siblings. Striking family resemblance is being passed on down from one generation to another. Although 11 years have passed I still feel overwhelmed while I'm around birth relatives. I always hate to leave them. But I always come home feeling so blessed that I've been reunited. It does not seem right that so many others are still searching. Some have been rejected so missed out on the opportunity to be reunited with birth relatives. Others have given up searching because it seems impossible to complete their search.

I will always be a strong advocate for open records because I do want all adoptees to experience similar special moments with birth relatives like I have been blessed with. Open records would not change a birth relative choosing to reject someone. I can't help but think though that some birth mothers have filed with a state saying that they don't want contact when that might not have happened if they had been contacted by their son/daughter and heard their voice. Although I'm not as active as I once was with helping to reunite people I recall too well when some birth mothers did not think that they wanted contact and then changed their mind. But to open records is not just for search and reunion.

Open records would provide all adult adoptees the opportunity to request and receive their original birth certificate. That might not always lead to searching and being reunited. But for those not reunited they would know their identity and most of all they would be treated like first class citizens. They would have the same civil right as non-adoptees!


triona said...

Mary Lynn, I agree with you 100% that it is possible birth relatives might not refuse contact if they were contacted directly instead of through some insensitive third party from the state. If people want to use a third party to make first contact, they are better off seeking a volunteer "search angel" on the Internet: someone who is personally affected by adoption and will make that call with the utmost respect for both sides.

You rightfully point out the difference between original birth certificate access and search/reunion. Access to adoption records is independent of the question of whether to search. It is a fundamental right that is denied by law and ignored by many legislators.

Mary Ann said...

I am been searching for my relatives for over 15 years. I did find my birth month and a 1/2 blood sister, who had turner's syndrome, and was retarded with the capacity of a 9 year old. She passed away several years ago. I have very limited and stressful with my birth mother and have never been able to earn her trust or set up a meeting. I was adopted from the Cradle in Evanston, Illinois, and have reeived information from them of a 'Non'-identifying nature. I found my birth mother on my own, but need her to confirm who my birth father may be. I think there may be 3 half brothers. My birth mother has no contact with me. What would be my next step. I live in North Carolina, and getting to Chicago is expensive. Do I actually have to hire an attorney or private investigator to get to the bottom of my search? Is there an organizatin I would contact that could help me? will the courts allow any records to be open and on what circumstances. I feel it is my right to know my past, any health issues (I have been diagnosed with Heart Disease). I need some guidance to see what is my next step. I'd plan a trip to Chicago, but I guess I need some sort of plan. can anyone advise me what my next step would be? thanks so much

Mary Lynn Fuller said...

Mary Ann, Illinois remains a closed state. I urge you to join with contacting legislators to oppose HB 4623. The bill should be pulled, killed, or let lie so it is not brought up in the veto session. We need to work together to get a good bill introduced and then persuade legislators to vote to pass it.

I would be leary of hiring a PI since many are only "database searchers" but are quick to take money saying that they can help you. I doubt that an attorney would be of help and just take money.

Is there a relative or friend of your birth mother who could give you some hints as to who your birth father might be? Maybe some hints along with the non-id from The Cradle would result in finding him.